Hong Kong's Apple Daily print edition announces closure after police raid

Marco Green
Июня 23, 2021

The security law, written in Beijing and imposed on Hong Kong last June, allows authorities to freeze assets of any individual or company in the worldwide business hub that is deemed a security threat.

It said the decision was "based on employee safety and manpower considerations".

The paper's publisher, Next Digital, said in a statement the decision to close the newspaper, which employs about 600 journalists, was taken "due to the current circumstances prevailing in Hong Kong". On Wednesday, it arrested a columnist on suspicion of conspiring to collude with a foreign country or foreign forces.

It marked the first time the national security law - which criminalises anything Beijing considers subversive - has been used against the press, chilling a city that was once considered a bastion of media freedom.

The arrest widens the police operation against Apple Daily, which is facing the threat of imminent closure.

A number of protest leaders and other activists have been charged under the law. The other three were released on bail by police.

Earlier this year, officials gutted the city's public broadcaster, Radio Television Hong Kong, by letting go reporters, axing shows considered critical of the government and appointing a new editor-in-chief with no media experience.

At a regular press conference, Lam expressed her support for the enforcement authorities of Hong Kong in defending national security, saying the HKSAR government will act strictly in accordance with the law so as to avoid the national security law to exist in name only.

Pro-Beijing newspapers Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao published special pages on Wednesday, portraying Lai as a "dog-like animal", a "traitor" and a shoe-shiner doing the bidding of the United States.

Apple Daily has come under increasing pressure since Lai was arrested a year ago under the security legislation, which was introduced after months of at times violent pro-democracy protests.

An adviser for Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong billionaire and founder of Next Digital, called the raid a "blatant attack".

Armed with the nebulously worded national security law, which targets subversion, separatism and collusion with foreign forces, Beijing has been systematically dismantling pillars of Hong Kong society that formerly distinguished the Asian financial hub of 7 million people from the authoritarian mainland. Secretary for Security will handle in accordance with the law any application related to the frozen property.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article